Kendrick Lamar's conversation-starting guest verse on Big Sean's "Control" has been almost as fascinating for the various ways other rappers have responded as for the West Coast MC's furious, New York-claiming verses themselves. General rule: The bigger the target, the quieter the reply. Tracks aiming back at Lamar poured in quickly, with Joey Bada$$ and A$AP Ferg turning in a couple of the more effective contenders, and RiFF RaFF pranking everyone by labeling a non-response as a response. Drake, named in the track, eventually gave condescending remarks in interviews when asked about the verse, prompting what we called Lamar's best rapping of 2013. Kanye West, Big Sean's boss through the G.O.O.D. Music imprint, is touring with Lamar and said in his recent epic U.K. interview, "I don't do dis records." Eminem put Lamar on his album. Do you hear Jay Z deigning to comment? Of course not. (Diddy did it for him, though.)
Conspicuously silent through all this was Nicki Minaj. The New York rapper was curiously left unmentioned in the original "Control" verse, so if she had responded on a track it would only have strengthened Lamar's claim that he rules the rap game now. And like her Young Money labelmate Drake, Minaj has complemented her 16-bar ferocity with (she doesn't like this word) pop savvy, going beyond the realm of "Starships" into the alien mainstream universe of American Idol. In a recent interview with New York's Power 105.1 FM, she was asked about "Control," and she seized the moment with classic Nicki aplomb, packing in enough eye-popping facial expressions, playful arrogance, and cartoonish voices for a great music-video guest verse.
The question comes just before the four-minute mark in the video above. The audio is censored, and we're seeing some discrepancies out there in specifically which FCC-banned words Minaj might be saying, but she said something like, "I'm probably in the top five motherfuckers he did mention, so go and do your motherfucking research." She added: "But I also feel like he maybe one of those respectful gentlemen that probably felt like, 'I don't want to say a female's name.' Or maybe he just don't think the kid is ill. But the kid knows the kid is ill, so I don't need to be on nobody's dick." Minaj further declared: "I'm the queen of New York, I'm the king of New York. Let me tell you why. Platinum albums. Albums. Plural. Number one in five mother-fuckin' countries."
Later on Twitter, Minaj wrote, "Lol. I'm going to post the full interview. It was all in fun. For the record, Hov is the king of NY in my eyes." Stay tuned for that — and, per the interview, for a new album in 2014 — and in the meantime, watch above to see how to rise above a genre-galvanizing track that implicitly snubs you.